This communicating of a man's self to his friend works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joy, and cutteth griefs in half. - Francis Bacon
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 210, Part I, 27 October 1995

We welcome you to Part I of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily
Digest. This part focuses on Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia.
Part II, distributed simultaneously as a second document, covers
Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe.  Back issues of the Daily
Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available through our WWW
pages: http://www.omri.cz/OMRI.html

RUSSIA

YELTSIN HOSPITALIZED AGAIN. Helicopters rushed President Boris Yeltsin
to the Central Clinical Hospital at 2:30 p.m. Moscow time on 26 October,
with a recurrence of the myocardial ischemia that forced him to seek
treatment for a month last summer beginning on 11 July, ITAR-TASS
reported. Doctors at the hospital said that his condition was less
serious than it was in July. Presidential aide Viktor Ilyushin blamed
the president's condition on his tiring trip to France and the U.S.
Doctors plan to release a full report on the president's condition on 27
October, but Ilyushin said that the president will not return to work in
the next few days. Russian media carried unusually extensive coverage of
the president's medical problems. -- Robert Orttung

YELTSIN'S ILLNESS MAY TORPEDO YUGOSLAV SUMMIT. Presidential spokesman
Sergei Medvedev told journalists on 26 October that President Yeltsin's
illness may lead to the cancellation of the scheduled 31 October Moscow
meeting of the Croatian, Bosnian, and Serbian presidents, Russian and
Western agencies reported. A final decision on the meeting will be taken
on 27 October, he added. Medvedev also announced that Yeltsin had
postponed his scheduled 8-11 November trip to China and would probably
postpone a planned 20-21 November visit to Norway as well. -- Scott
Parrish

GRACHEV AND PERRY BEGIN TALKS ON BOSNIA. Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev arrived in Washington on 26 October to begin talks with his U.S.
counterpart, William Perry, on the terms of Russian participation in a
proposed peace implementation force for Bosnia, Russian and Western
agencies reported. Despite claims by President Yeltsin and his U.S.
counterpart, Bill Clinton, at their Hyde Park summit that they had
resolved the issue, Perry emerged from the first round of talks with
Grachev and told journalists that "a distinct gap" remains between the
Russian and U.S. positions. On 27 October, Grachev and Perry will fly to
Fort Riley, Kansas, to observe the joint Russian-U.S. Peacekeeper '95
exercise. -- Scott Parrish

SHAKHRAI TO TAKE UNPAID LEAVE DURING CAMPAIGN. Deputy Prime Minister
Sergei Shakhrai told voters in Kaliningrad that he will take unpaid
leave in order to devote himself full-time to the Duma campaign, Russian
Public Television reported on 26 October. Although Shakhrai remains in
the government, his Russian Unity and Concord party quit Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin's Our Home is Russia on 30 August. Before the
president's heart trouble, Chernomyrdin was planning to discuss his own
leave with Yeltsin early next week. On 26 October, his bloc announced
that it did not make sense for him to take a leave of absence, NTV
reported. -- Robert Orttung

GAIDAR CLAIMS SUPPORT IN COMMUNIST STRONGHOLDS. Russia's Democratic
Choice leader Yegor Gaidar said that his party had no trouble collecting
signatures, even in areas with "heavy Communist influence." Gaidar
called the Communist Party of the Russian Federation a "national-
socialist imperial party." If it came to power, Gaidar said, it would
not consciously try to dismantle the market system but would "destroy
its fundamental foundations" by trying to recreate the empire and
increasing defense spending and agricultural subsidies. That, he said,
would return the country to the chaos of 1990-1991, ITAR-TASS reported.
NTV commented that those remarks could provoke the Communists to sue
Gaidar. -- Robert Orttung

COMPETING PEASANTS' CONGRESSES IN MOSCOW. Rival political parties
claiming to represent the interests of rural dwellers opened congresses
in Moscow on 27 October, ITAR-TASS reported. Vladimir Bashmachnikov's
Union of Private Landowners is leading the All-Russian Congress of
Peasants-Landowners. Bashmachnikov's union strongly supports private
farming with full property rights for farmers; it has joined the
electoral bloc Our Home Is Russia. Mikhail Lapshin's Agrarian Party of
Russia (APR) initiated the All-Russian Rural Assembly. The APR mainly
represents the interests of agricultural collectives. It would allow
private ownership of small garden plots but categorically opposes land
reform to legalize the buying and selling of large tracts of farm land.
Both congresses hope to attract rural support for their parties in the
December parliamentary elections. -- Laura Belin

CHAMBER ON INFORMATION DISPUTES BACKS CHERNOMYRDIN. . . The president's
Judicial Chamber on Information Disputes found charges that Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin used a television interview for campaign
purposes "groundless," Ekho Moskvy reported on 26 October. Chernomyrdin
was accused of campaigning for his bloc Our Home Is Russia during a
September appearance on local television in his home region of Orenburg.
The prime minister's accuser, a Communist member of the Orenburg
legislature, did not turn up for the hearings, and the chamber found no
evidence demonstrating that Chernomyrdin had talked about his bloc
during the interview. -- Laura Belin

. . . AS NEVZOROV DISPUTES CHAMBER'S AUTHORITY. Aleksandr Nevzorov, a
Duma deputy and the host of the controversial news magazine "Dikoe Pole"
(Wild Field), said the president's Judicial Chamber on Information
Disputes lacks the authority to rule on violations of the law or the
constitution, Ekspress-khronika reported on 27 October. The chamber
recently recommended that Russian Public TV (ORT) drop Nevzorov's show
on the grounds that a June broadcast violated the privacy rights of
inmates in a women's prison (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 October 1995). In
an angry letter to the chamber, Nevzorov called the decision "rubbish."
ORT continues to broadcast "Dikoe Pole." -- Laura Belin

RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT ENDORSES CHEMICAL WEAPONS DESTRUCTION PROGRAM. The
Russian Chief of the General Staff, General Mikhail Kolesnikov,
announced that the government had approved a plan for destroying its
stocks of chemical weapons by 2005, Interfax reported on 26 October.
Kolesnikov said the 40,000 tons of chemical weapons now in storage would
be destroyed in facilities located across Russia, which would then be
decommissioned by 2009. Col. Gen. Stanislav Petrov, chief of the
Chemical Defense Force, said the destruction process would begin with
11,500 tons of lewisite and mustard gas, which have been held in railway
storage tanks since 1953. Kolesnikov said the destruction program would
cost 16.6 trillion rubles ($3.68 billion). Russia has signed the 1993
Chemical Weapons Convention but still has not ratified it. -- Scott
Parrish

DUMA DEPUTY REFUTES START II REPORTS. Sergei Yushenko, the chairman of
the Duma Defense and Security Committee, denounced reports in the
Western media that the Duma intended to ratify START II only with
amendments and conditions, ITAR-TASS reported on 26 October. Yushenko
said that although his committee had discussed the treaty at a closed
session on 17 October, it had not yet reached any conclusions. Also on
26 October, Mikhail Demurin, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, urged the
Duma to ratify the treaty in its current form, which he said
corresponded with Russia's national interests and strategic
capabilities. Demurin also reaffirmed the official Russian position that
START II can only be implemented if the 1972 ABM Treaty remains intact.
-- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA FAVORS CREATING CIS INTERIOR MINISTRY COUNCIL. Following a
conference of the CIS interior ministers in Yerevan, Russian Interior
Minister Anatolii Kulikov told Interfax on 26 October that he supported
forming a CIS Council of Interior Ministers to coordinate the fight
against organized crime. During the conference, the CIS interior
ministers signed accords on cooperation between CIS law enforcement
agencies in fighting organized crime. Bilateral accords were signed
between Armenia and Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and
Belarus. The CIS interior ministers will meet again next spring in
Dushanbe. -- Constantine Dmitriev

INCREASING TENDENCY TO HOLD SAVINGS IN FOREIGN CURRENCY. According to
the Institute for Economic Analysis, there is an increasing tendency in
Russia to hold personal savings in hard currency, Moskovskaya pravda
reported on 26 October. In May-June 1995, only 9.7-9.8% of the
population had savings accounts in foreign currency. By August 1995,
this figure had increased to 15.2%. At the same time, only 3.6% of the
country's population opted for savings in rubles. The Institute's
analysts believe that the situation reflects public distrust in the
government's promise to keep inflation low. -- Natalia Gurushina

NEW DEVELOPMENTS ON FINANCIAL-INDUSTRIAL GROUPS. There are now 21
financial-industrial groups that have been taken under the government's
wing and included in the special register of such groups in Russia,
Rossiiskaya gazeta reported on 26 October. Membership in this exclusive
"club" is granted only to those groups whose activities do not conflict
with the government's economic and structural policy. By September 1995,
281 companies (among them 62 financial institutions) had become members
of financial-industrial groups. Those companies employ 2 million workers
and their industrial output is worth nearly 30 trillion rubles ($6.7
billion). It is expected that financial-industrial groups will
eventually account for more than 50% of the country's industrial output.
-- Natalia Gurushina

ECONOMICS MINISTRY ISSUES PER CAPITA INCOME PROJECTIONS FOR 1996. The
Economics Ministry predicts a 29% increase, to 727,000 rubles ($162), in
monthly per capita nominal income in 1996 compared to 1995, Moskovskaya
pravda reported on 26 October. According to the report, per capita
expenditures will go up to 702 thousand rubles a month (a 31% increase
compared to 1995). The prognosis shows that during 1996 real per capita
income of the population would fall by 3%. The projected monthly
inflation rate in 1996 is expected to be 1.0-1.2%, down from 7.5-8.0% in
1995. As is pointed out in the ministry's report, those figures
represent just one of the possible scenarios for economic development.
It is quite feasible that the 1996 average monthly inflation rate would
be much higher --about 3%. -- Natalia Gurushina

CORRECTION. On 24 October, the OMRI Daily Digest erroneously reported
the departure of 150 Russian peacekeepers from Tomsk for the Peacekeeper
'95 exercise at Fort Riley, Kansas. The troops actually departed from
Totsk, Orenburg Oblast. Last year's Peacekeeper '94 exercise was also
held in Totsk, not in Tomsk as reported

TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

GEORGIA WILL GET RUSSIAN NATURAL GAS. Georgia will import gas from
Russia and use it exclusively for the needs of power engineering,
Interfax reported on 26 October. Russia will deliver 400 million cubic
meters of gas in exchange for manganese, pipes, tea, wine, and other
agricultural products. Sources in the Georgian government said that the
price for Russian natural gas, including shipment to the border, will be
about $70 for 1,000 cubic meters, which is $10 less than Georgia used to
pay for Turkmen gas. Georgia stopped purchasing gas in Turkmenistan as
Georgian customers began accumulating debts that have reached $450
million. -- Irakli Tsereteli

TAJIK OPPOSITION'S NEW STRATEGY. The Tajik opposition will meet with
Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov in Ashgabat on 29 October to
discuss the next round of inter-Tajik talks. A spokesman for the United
Tajik Opposition, Ali Akbar Turadzhonzoda, told Interfax on 26 October
that the opposition would "suggest a number of compromises."
Turadzhonzoda said the Tajik opposition had sent proposals to the
leaders of the Central Asian states to send representatives to attend
future meetings between the Tajik government and the opposition. --
Bruce Pannier

ANTI-AKAEV DEMONSTRATION IN BISHKEK CALLED OFF. A demonstration planned
for the five-year anniversary of President Askar Akaev's election to
office by the Supreme Soviet has been called off, according to RFE/RL's
Kyrgyz BD, possibly because law enforcement agencies did not grant the
organizers official permission. Rather than hold an illegal rally, the
opposition forces canceled the event. -- Bruce Pannier

KYRGYZ, CHINESE SIGN AGREEMENTS. Agreements on scientific and technical
cooperation, quality control on imports and exports, and education were
signed by Kyrgyz Prime Minister Apas Jumagulov and Chinese Prime
Minister Li Peng, according to a 25 October Kyrgyz Radio report
monitored by the BBC. -- Bruce Pannier

ASHGABAT'S DIPLOMACY. Diplomatic relations between the United Arab
Emirates and Turkmenistan have been established on an ambassadorial
level, the Wakh news agency reported on 25 October. In other news,
Turkmen President Saparmurad Niyazov held talks with Hu Jinato, a
visiting member of the Chinese Communist Party's politburo, the Turkmen
Press agency reported. Niyazov was reported to have praised the growing
cooperation between Turkmenistan and China; he also claimed that the
preparatory research on the Transasian pipeline to carry Turkmen gas
across China to Japan had been completed. -- Lowell Bezanis

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
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Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights
reserved. ISSN 1211-1570


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